The Graduate School

Peer Assisted Programmes

Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) for the Viva Voce

We now offer Peer Assisted Learning for the Viva Voce Exam to late cycle PGR students who are approaching the Viva.  The Peer Assisted Learning course offers final year postgraduate research students the opportunity to work in a small group with other students at the same stage.  The facilitators have successfully completed PhDs and will offer support in exploring anticipated problems, developing strengths and providing opportunities to practise for the key elements of the Viva.

Peer Mentoring for 1st Year Postgraduate Research Students

Peer mentoring aims to address the diverse needs arising out of the transition from undergraduate to postgraduate research education.  Postgraduate research study requires new learning skills and strategies as students learn to adapt to the research environment.  Mentoring at the early stages of a research degree enhances the student experience through offering a longer and more tailored induction thereby facilitating integration into the research environment.  Peer mentoring also helps to promote a strong, supportive culture in schools and throughout the wider university.

Some of the benefits of the scheme are as follows:

  • an ongoing, student-centred, induction process of particular benefit to students who start at non-standard times of the year;
  • an improved learning culture and climate;
  • an important feedback loop between students and staff; and
  • lower drop-out rates

There are also benefits for mentors, who receive a hands-on experience of applying skills such as communication, problem solving and team working.  There are specialised training and support materials for the mentoring process, such as the manual for mentors.  Mentors, who are typically in the 2nd or3rd year of the PhD cycle, receive skills training credits and can gain valuable experience for their future careers.

For more information on Peer mentoring, please click here.